Coffee Glossary : V

Are you not familiar with a term used in one of our articles or reviews? Our Coffee Glossary defines hundreds of common and not-so-common words in the coffee lexicon. Click any letter below to view a list of coffee terms and definitions beginning with that letter.

Vacuum-Filter Method.  A brewing method that differs from other filter methods in that the brewing water is drawn through the ground coffee by means of a partial vacuum.

Varietal Coffee.  As used by many people in the American specialty coffee industry, a term describing an unblended coffee from a single country, region, and crop. For example: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Kenya AA, or La Minita Costa Rica Tarrazu. However, to follow the California wine analogy more precisely, varietal coffees ought logically to come from a single predominant botanical variety of coffee tree; var. bourbon, for example, or var. typica. Increasingly, coffee writers use “single origin” rather than “varietal” to describe coffees from a single country, region, and crop.

Varietal Distinction, Varietal Character.  A tasting or cupping term describing positive characteristics that distinguish a given coffee from coffee from other regions. Examples are the wine- or berry-like acidity of Kenya coffees or the full, resonant character of the best Sumatra. See Varietal Coffee.

Venezuela.  Some Venezuela coffees (Tachira, Cúcuta) resemble Colombia coffees. However, the most characteristic (Mérida) are sweet and delicately flavored.

Viennese Coffee.  Ambiguous term. Describes coffee brewed by the drip or filter method from a blend of coffee brought to a degree or darkness of roast called Viennese Roast; also refers to brewed coffee of any roast or origin topped with whipped cream.

Viennese Roast.  Term for coffee brought to a degree of roast slightly darker than the traditional American norm, but lighter than degrees of roast variously called espresso, French, or Italian. In the cup, Viennese roast (also called full-city, light French or light espresso roast) is less acidy and smoother than the characteristic American roast, but may display fewer of the distinctive taste characteristics of the original coffee. Viennese roast may also refer to a mixture of beans roasted to a dark brown and beans roasted to the traditional American medium brown.

Vintage Coffee, Aged Coffee.  Traditionally, coffee held in warehouses for several years, sometimes deliberately, sometimes inadvertently. Such aging reduces acidity and increases body. Aged coffee has been held longer than either old crop coffee or mature coffee. Recently, some Indonesia coffee has been subject to a sort of accelerated aging involving deliberate exposure to moist air, much like India’s monsooned coffee.

Adapted from Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying; Espresso: Ultimate Coffee; and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival. St. Martin's Press.

Copyright © 1996, 2001 by Kenneth Davids. All Rights Reserved.